Firstly, lots of value can come from introducing the right HR policies into a business at the right time.
Organisations who ‘get it right’ in terms of the tone, culture and understanding what they want to achieve set themselves up with a fantastic opportunity to communicate key business aims and objectives to their employees.
In this blog we are focussing on how to introduce new HR policies into a business, and there are a few important things to consider before you do…
It’s not just about legal compliance
Before you decide which policies to put in place, take the time to ask yourself a few key questions.
The first thing to think about is why you want these new policies. Many organisations are purely looking at it from a legal compliance perspective, but there are some other things worth thinking about too.
Use these questions to really get to the heart of the aims and objectives of the project:
- Do you want the new policy to provide an opportunity for employees to understand the expectations of the business?
- Are you trying to provide processes for your managers to follow?
- Are you trying to help with the attraction and retention of employees?
- Do you need to further support the commercial tendering process?
Once you have your aims and objectives in place, its time to decide which policies are required.
Decide which policies to put in place
Start by taking account the main issues that arise within your organisation. What type of things do people frequently need more guidance upon? What is the capability of your line managers in handling certain situations? What sector do you work in?
You will do things quite differently depending on the answers to those questions.
Please don’t try and create a policy for everything, you can really tie yourself in knots!
We recently had a client who wanted a policy in place for guide dogs in the workplace, and in our experience that’s not something that happens frequently, so we advised against this. The golden rule – stick to the core policies that you truly believe you need and try not to get carried away.
The more policies you have, the more things you need to keep up with and the more information you are overloading your employees with.
Think carefully about the tone of voice
The tone you use in your policies has a big impact on how they are received, understood and followed by your workforce. Your tone should match the culture of your business. If you’re informal, and you have a very formal policy – it just won’t sound like you and employees will struggle to relate to it.
Work hard to make it sound like what the rest of your business sounds like. If your aim is to keep things simple – keep your policies simple as well.
Don’t write a ‘guide’ for your managers
Okay, we realise some organisations feel a strong need for this. In our experience, additional documents often cause unnecessary complications for people, in that there are now two documents (about the same subject) that they have to keep on top of, and managers lose track of the ever-increasing number of policy documents.
There is also a risk that line managers forget this document was for their eyes only and share it with non-line managers – then things just get messy for everyone.
It’s better to keep it simple and train your managers in the use of the new policies.
Introducing new policies is a process that needs careful planning, thought and execution, and when done right, can really pay dividends for any organisation. Of course, there is no need to start completely from scratch if you already have policies in place. Take a look at our other blog ‘how to revamp your HR policies’ if you are looking for a refresh rather than a reboot.